I interviewed Don Beisswenger who is a retired professor of theology at Vanderbilt University. He now lives in Nashville, Tennessee, and is extremely active with various projects to help the homeless (and others on the margins) in that city. He said he taught about “practical theology” at Vanderbilt which, in part, means connecting the gospel message with the present in quite tangible ways. And Jesus was forever talking about helping the poor and so, well, that’s what professor Beisswenger does. Besides his extensive work in the city, professor Beisswenger also established the Penual Retreat Center in nearby rural Ashland City, Tennessee. It’s a retreat center, with a twist. He offers free getaways for the homeless — who are often perpetually trapped in the city. What’s more, if they want, the homeless can also work around the retreat center grounds during their stay — for pay. Note: Professor Beisswenger added that the prevailing climate in society is one of “charity” toward the poor. And he finds that tremendously one dimensional. That is, he said we should be looking at the systems that are keeping the poor, poor.